June’s Book: The Pact

For the longest time I was apprehensive about reading a Jodi Picoult book.  I work in a bookstore and she’s a very popular author so I’m familiar with many of her titles.  I was sure they were probably good, but they all sound so depressing.  They just didn’t seem like anything that I wanted to read about.  However, I got a copy of one of her newer books for Christmas, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And I ended up being completely sucked in by Picoult’s writing.  When it got to be my turn to pick the next book club book, I decided to pick another of her novels.  I was interested to find out how my fellow book clubbers would react to her writing.  After much debate, I ended up choosing The Pact, one of Picoult’s most popular titles. 


The novel begins with the devastating moment that becomes the focus of the story- the moment when a boy and a girl kiss and then a shot is fired.  As the novel progresses, we are told the story of Emily Gold and Chris Harte.  They were born only a few months apart and lived next door to each other their entire lives.  As they grew up they were inseparable.  In fact they spent so much time together that they seemed to become two halves of the same person.  When their relationship seemed to evolve into romantic love no one was surprised, in fact, their families were thrilled.  That was until the moment that left Chris wounded and Emily dead from a gunshot wound.  Both families struggle to understand what happened as their worlds are completely destroyed.  And then they find out that the police believe that Chris murdered Emily. 


What is most compelling about Picoult’s writing is the way she lets the story unfold.  Rather than starting at the very beginning, when they are born, and telling the story chronologically until we reach Emily’s death and then the aftermath, Picoult goes back and forth between the present and the past.  As we see how each person reacts to unthinkable tragedy, we also see how their lives intertwined and what led each person to the moment that Emily died in what Chris claimed was a botched suicide pact.  It’s not until the last days of his trial that we finally learn exactly why Emily died that night.  Picoult keeps you in suspense and makes it impossible to put the book down until the very last word.  

Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

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